Cameroon Activist Uses Plastic Bottles to Create Boats For His Community

To help save our planet Earth and clean his home from plastic pollution, this young man from Cameroon came up with the idea to use plastic bottles and transform them into canoes, known as EcoBoats.

The young man, Ismael Essome Ebone, was motivated to work on these boats after he was shocked by seeing plastic bottles floating on floodwaters during a storm in his living place that happened back in 2011.

So, he began collecting plastic bottles from around his town in order to work on developing the canoes. After another storm, he tested his first canoe. And, to the amazement of the fisherman who was near the shore, the plastic bottle canoe was working great. He named this boat the EcoBoat.

Ismael Becomes a Successful Entrepreneur

Inspired by the EcoBoat, Ebone decided to invest his savings and launch a non-profit that he named Madiba & Nature, which he did. This charity collects plastic from around the region and uses it to make boats that can be used by fishermen and for ecotourism.  

And, his venture was quite successful- just recently, the organization installed the first-ever EcoBin in the nation that collects, sorts out, and recycles waste.

The EcoBin also eases the collection of plastic bottles and prevents them from entering our rivers and oceans, claims the non-profit organization on their Facebook page.

In an Al Jazeera interview, the young man stated that he was saddened that all rivers were so full of plastic, yet no one seemed to care.

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He wanted to do something and change this. He also added that we lack education on how to manage our waste and therefore, we seem to think that floating bottles in the river is normal.

By September 2019, his organization placed 100 EcoBins in Douala, which have collected up to 3 tons of plastic waste on a monthly basis.

Together with the group of 30 volunteers, Essome can be seen doing river cleanups and removing the countless bottles that can be seen floating.

Lack of Waste Management Policy

According to one of the volunteers, there’s no recycling system in Cameroon because their politicians have other issues to tackle and priorities. Since people here are quite poor, no one actually has the time to care about the environment.

However, he added that plastic waste and pollution are serious and urgent problems, so they need the proper policies for waste management.